Meal prep isn't just about helping us eat for our goals. It is giving ourselves the gift of time FREEDOM. When we meal prep or plan our meals once or twice for the week, we are then freeing up our time for the whole rest of the week! We are also freeing up our mental energy for the week since we no longer have to think daily about what to eat at each meal, and if we have the ingredients, and if it works for our health/fitness goals, etc. These daily decisions are especially draining when we're already hungry, looking at the fridge trying to figure out what we should eat. This is often when most of us will close the fridge and instead head for Uber Eats. :-P
Having our own healthy meals (or the main ingredients premade) already there in front of us, ready to eat, is absolutely invaluable for our progress. This also saves mental/emotional resources that can be put towards doing other things that are important to us, like focusing on our valuable de-stressing downtime doing something we enjoy, and spending time with loved ones. We no longer have to make decisions about food; it’s been taken care of!
❓How to meal prep: The first thing? Just start. Just do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to get fancy. But we're all adults here, we should know (or learn) how to cook some basic meals.
Here are the THREE most important tips for meal prep beginners:
1. Keep it simple- Choose ONE meal that regularly pains you and focus on that. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, and you will still get the benefits of meal prepping!
2. Schedule it- write it on your calendar. Block off time. Make it as difficult as possible to make excuses. A good place to start for prepping one meal for the week could be 1 hour on each Sunday and Wednesday night. It will likely take you less time than that, especially as you become more experienced and efficient!
3. Use known proven recipes- when just starting out keep it ultra simple. Using recipes you know are easy and tasty is a great base from.
Four more tips to help:
❇ Find a system for collecting new recipes that works for you with minimal effort.
I like to screenshot recipes I come across online throughout the week on my phone, so I have a bunch of good ideas saved to choose from when it’s time to do meal planning. When I have a bit more time, I enjoy sitting down with a few cookbooks or favorite online sites to search for recipe inspiration for a new meal that week.
❇ Invest in good containers.
Appropriate quality food storage containers helps you to easily store, transport, and re-heat your meals. I like to use a mixture of glass and plastic containers in varying shapes and sizes; glass are great for meals that need to be heated, and the plastic are great for everything else as they are a lighter weight transport. Ziploc bags are also fantastic for smaller sized dry items that don't need to hold their shape.
This is a great way to help keep things simple while changing up the flavor. There are so many different ones that you can really transform a dish with these. Premade spice blends are even more fun and require little effort. Check out your local spice market or an online store like "Simply Delish Spice Market".
❇ Stock up on meal prep staples.
Hello Costco! Since you are now meal prepping for the week you can now buy that jumbo bag of pre-cut and pre-washed broccoli and actually use the whole thing. A huge time-saver! And you are no longer that person who has a produce drawer full of half rotting veggies. 😂 As I used to call it, the guilt drawer of best-intentions. Keep your pantry and freezer stocked with quick go-to minimal prep items.
Good things to have on hand... Freezer: frozen fruits and veggies, frozen brown rice or grain of choice, frozen shrimp or fish (defrosts quickly in a protein pinch!). Pantry: Plain oats, beans, canned diced tomatoes, soups and broths. Fridge: Cottage cheese, plain greek yogurt, pre-cut veggies, liquid egg whites, eggs, bread (yes i keep this in my fridge, lol), and avocados. These aren't all inclusive lists by any means, just a few ideas.
P.S. Thanks to my hubby for letting me post him.
P.P.S. Prepping with your significant other can be really fun!